How Cancer Changed My Plans

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” unknown

“Life is what happens while your busy making plans.” John Lennon

These quotes have in times past gotten on my nerves.

Add to them the expression Christians feel obliged to tack onto any statement of plans,”Lord willing.” The Bible tells us to say that but I think we may have reduced its meaning  to little more than a sneeze response.

“God Bless You!”

The idea is that things don’t happen by our power.   We are better served to acknowledge that if good things happen, it is because God supported our plans.

God doesn’t always support our plans.  Sometimes because they aren’t as good as we think they are.  Other times his methodology is more of a mystery.

Mysterious? Yes.  Wrong? No.

He’s smarter than us.

I didn’t go to school to be a caregiver.  Yet, here I am.  It’s one of those things like being a parent that is simultaneously an honor and a drag.

My mother-in-law didn’t ask for cancer. Yet, here she is across from me in her recliner with a blanket draped over her and a boggin pulled down on her head.  That chair is the center of her orbit.  She eats and watches TV there. She sleeps there too because she can no longer lie flat in her bed.

This is her 10th year of stage IV breast cancer recurrence.

The long-term effects of chemo combined with the greater spread of tumors is piling up on her. She is worn out and weary.

Her plan has been simple up to now, to stay alive, but now she is less certain.

There are brief moments when I can see her letting go.

The fight is dying.

The fighter is dying.

We put a high premium on the fight but sometimes our failure to accept is what makes us miserable.

If Mary could accept the terminal nature of her disease, its rapid progression, and the diminishing quality of her life, she would be more inclined to enjoy her life for what it is instead of wishing for something else.

That isn’t to say I know how she feels only that I wish she felt better.

We accepted our position as caregivers with no small amount of reluctance. We were braced for a handful of months because things were that dire.

In 6 months or a year, she would no longer suffer and we could return to our home.

I had to leave my job to be here. That was okay. I had another one lined up.

That fell through.  Nothing came of the three dozen other jobs I applied for either.

I was burdened by the responsibility to provide for my family and the seeming impossibility to do so.

I was desperate and frustrated.

I wasn’t happy until I began to accept the situation.

And then, creative solutions were more obvious.

I could see that I had been freed from  a job that I hated.

I was free from the cubicle.

I was free from this false notion of a valid life.

I was free to pursue my dream.

I was free from my plans.

God didn’t create cancer and he didn’t inflict it on Mary.  He didn’t desire that it ruin her or that it wreck our life but, “[He] intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.” (Gen 50:20)

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5 Responses to How Cancer Changed My Plans

  1. redheadkate says:

    Thanks. I needed to hear this.

  2. Debi says:

    You never cease to amaze me… The Lord never ceases to amaze me–how He works in our lives for His perfect purpose. Thank you for reminding me to hold MY plans loosely… and to hold onto HIM with abandon.

  3. Pingback: How Cancer Changed “Our” Plans | The Waiting Room

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